Blog Posts Tagged with Debt Collection

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When a data oops becomes an uh-oh

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:  Glitch Happens.  In the case of Accretive Health, Inc., it was a laptop taken from the passenger compartment of an employee’s car.  What transformed this oops into a full-fledged uh-oh was that the laptop contained files with 20 million pieces of data about 23,000 patients, including sensitive health information.  And according to the FTC’s lawsuit, the employee in question didn’t need all that

Phantom of the owe-pera

This tale of phantoms doesn’t involve crashing chandeliers and operatic crescendos.  But according to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, the results were just as dramatic for consumers mistreated by debt collectors who used deceptive and threatening tactics to collect on “phantom” payday loans — bogus debts people didn’t really owe.  The complaint charges Atlanta- and Cleveland-based Pinnacle Payment Services, LLC and a chorus of corporate officers and affiliated outfits with violations of the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practice

DONT VIOL8 FDCPA. K? THX

If we were sending a text about the FTC’s case against Glendale, California, based debt collector National Attorney Collection Services, that might be all we could convey, given space limitations.  That abbreviated headline illustrates just one of the technological challenges posed when using new means of communication.  But regardless of the method debt collectors choose when contacting people who owe money, the consumer protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act still apply.  That’s just one point members of the industry should

Magistrate Judge's finding: Payday lenders covered by FTC Act even if affiliated with American Indian Tribes

In an FTC action challenging allegedly illegal business practices by a payday loan operation affiliated with American Indian Tribes, a United States Magistrate Judge just issued a report and recommendation on the scope of the FTC Act.  Attorneys will want to give the order a careful read, but here’s the need-to-know nugget:  Over the defendants’ vigorous opposition, the Magistrate Judge concluded that the FTC Act “gives the FTC the authority to bring suit against Indian Tribes, arms of Indian Tribes, and employees and contractors of arms of

When all is said and dun: Record-setting penalty for debt collection violations

"You’ve reached the FTC.  Sorry we’re not able to take your call right now.  But if you’re Expert Global Solutions — the biggest debt collection operation in the world — please pay a $3.2 million civil penalty, the largest ever from a third-party debt collector, and start honoring the terms of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Oh, and at the sound of the tone, please don’t leave a voicemail illegally disclosing that a person owes money."  BEEP.

"I read the news today, oh boy"

There's "Life of Pi" and "Life of Brian," Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson,” the sitcom “Life of Riley,” and the Beatles’ ground-breaking “A Day in the Life.”   We view Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collection, a roundtable hosted by the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as pretty ground-breaking, too.  And the topic — the flow of consumer data through the debt collection process — should attract the interest of your clients in the financial field.

FTC and CFPB host roundtable on data integrity in debt collection

When the topic turns to debt collection, some people assume the only thing that changes hands is money.  But there’s another important consideration:  the life cycle of consumer information as it flows through the debt collection process.  That's the subject of Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collection, a June 6, 2013, roundtable co-hosted by the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Collection deception

On classic episodes of the Tonight Show, affable sidekick Ed McMahon sought guidance from Johnny Carson's all-knowing Carnac character.  But as demonstrated by a recent FTC law enforcement action — which involved a company's misleading reference to the late Mr. McMahon — you don't need a psychic to know that challenging deceptive debt collection practices remains a top priority.

Watch what you're doing with time-barred debts

Of course, people are responsible for their debts.  However, at a certain point, how much time has passed becomes an affirmative defense under state law and creditors can’t prevail in court.  But what happens if a payment is made on a time-barred debt?  A consumer can really get clocked — because in many states the debt can be revived if a person makes a payment or says in writing that they intend to.  The FTC has announced a $2.5 million settlement with Asset Acceptance, LLC, for allegedly breaking the law in how it tried to collect

Looking forward to a long and productive relationship

Last Friday, the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau signed a memorandum of understanding outlining how the agencies will work together.  The CFPB — born out of the recent financial system overhaul — and the FTC now share responsibility for protecting consumers in the non-bank financial sector.

Quoth the Maven

In celebration of Halloween — and with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe — here’s our take on what companies can do to make sure spooky business practices don’t come back to haunt them.




Once upon a midnight lawful
Pondering practices, good and awful,
Reading through the U.S. Code
For dos and don’ts I parse and claw.

I came upon the Trade Commission’s
Section 5 with all revisions.

Strike a pose?

Usually it’s the process server who uses a disguise — pretending to be a delivery man or repair person to catch someone off guard. But in a

Reader discretion advised

It’s unusual for an FTC court document to come with a warning label, but the allegations contained in a recent debt collection case against an outfit doing business as Rumson, Bolling & Associates aren’t for the faint of heart.  According to the FTC, the defendants harassed debtors with abusive and profane language, including threats to harm their family members, kill their pets, and desecrate the bodies of their deceased loved ones.  And that’s just for starters.

Closed encounters of the third kind

Savvy executives like to stay in the loop on FTC activities that could affect their industry.   They make it a habit to scan the headlines or check for relevant workshops or reports.  But there’s a third category of information a bit less understood: closing letters from BCP staff.

In the spirit of transparency, the agency posts them online.  Here in the BCP Business Center, recent letters appear in the Compliance Documents section of each topic area.

Handle with care

If there were a master list of topics that need to be addressed gingerly, death and debt would rank at the top.  For debt collectors attempting to collect the debts of a deceased consumer, a recent policy statement issued by the FTC addresses changes in state probate procedures and emphasizes debt collectors’ obligation to make sure they’re acting within the law.

Accounts deceivable

Perhaps you see cops on the beat when they pass by your office. Maybe you serve on a committee with the Chief of Police or have a relative in the Sheriff’s Department. However you cross paths with local law enforcement, do them — and yourself — a favor by telling them about Consumer Sentinel.

Debt Collection 2.0

Cell phones, email, social media, auto-dialers, databases, and payment portals.  This ain’t your Father’s debt collection business.  That’s why an April 28, 2011, FTC workshop, Debt Collection 2.0:  Protecting Consumers as Technologies Change, will focus on the impact developments like these are having on the consumer debt collection system.  As the agenda shows, the conversation will center on how technologies affect debt collectors’ compliance with the law and the consumer protection concerns these new methods

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